Election Night

If you’re looking for something to do on Election Night, I will be providing “real-time hot takes” at the Parkway Theater as part of an onstage political panel at the Theater of Public Policy’s Election Night event.

The event runs 8-11 p.m., and it’s free. In addition to ongoing results, there will be live music and improv comedy. (I know the picture says 6 p.m. Everything else I’ve seen says 8 p.m. There won’t be any results until 8 p.m. Maybe the doors open at six? I don’t know.)

The Parkway Theater is at 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55417.

 

Election 2018: Ballot Roundup

Here are my recommendations for allllllllllll the races I’ve written about in 2018. Links lead back to my post about the race.


Statewide

US Senator (term expiring January 3, 2025): Amy Klobuchar

US Senator (Special Election for term expiring January 3, 2021): Tina Smith

Governor: Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan

Secretary of State: Steve Simon

State Auditor: Julie Blaha

Attorney General: Keith Ellison


Statewide Judicial

Supreme Court, Associate Justice 2: Margaret Chutich

Court of Appeals, Judge 2: Lucinda Ellen Jesson


Minneapolis and Hennepin County Races

US Representative, District 5: Ilhan Omar

State Representative 63A: Jim Davnie
(I didn’t research any other State Rep races. Just vote for the DFLer. This is a better state when the Democrats are running things.)

Hennepin County Commissioner, District 2: Irene Fernando

Hennepin County Commissioner, District 3: Marion Greene

Hennepin County Commissioner, District 4: Angela Conley

Hennepin County Sheriff: Dave Hutch

Hennepin County Attorney: Mark Haase

Minneapolis City Question regarding liquor licenses: Yes

Minneapolis School Board At-Large (vote for 2): Kimberly Caprini and Josh Pauly

Minneapolis School District Questions: Yes (to both)

Note regarding judicial races: all the Hennepin County district judges are running unopposed. It kind of doesn’t matter much whether you fill in the dots or not. I usually vote for all the unopposed incumbents unless I’m running short of time, but as you may have noticed, I’m overly thorough about anything election-related.


Saint Paul and Ramsey County Races

US Representative, District 4: Betty McCollum

State Representative 64B: Dave Pinto
(I didn’t research any other State Rep races. Just vote for the DFLer. This is a better state when the Democrats are running things.)

Ramsey County Commissioner, District 3: Trista MatasCastillo

Ramsey County Commissioner, District 5: Rafael Ortega (post is from the primary season; Charles Barklind is no longer on the ballot, everything else applies.)

Ramsey County Sheriff: Jack Serier

Ramsey County Attorney: John Choi

Saint Paul School District Question: Yes

2nd District Court, Judge 2: DeAnne Hilgers

2nd District Court, Judge 11: Leaning toward Scott Flaherty for my own vote, but both candidates are excellent.

2nd District Court, Judge 14: Robyn Millenacker

2nd District Court, Judge 20: Probably Tony Atwal, despite his DUI.

2nd District Court, Judge 28: Elena Ostby

I think that’s all of them. If you have some spare time this weekend, CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING.

Edited to add: if you’re looking for more perspectives, or information on races outside Minneapolis and St. Paul, this tool also has some information on downticket races: https://inthearenaonline.com/mycandidates/

I’ve been asked about a tip jar, and for various reasons I don’t have one. You can buy one of my books (online if that’s easiest, but local bookstores Dreamhaven and Uncle Hugo’s usually have Cat Pictures Please & Other Stories, my short story collection, and might have my novels). You can also stay tuned to pre-order my new novel Catfishing on Catnet (coming November 2019 from Tor Teen!) once there’s a pre-ordering page. Finally, you can donate to the not-yet-fully-funded Donors Choose fundraiser I linked to back on the post about the Minneapolis School Board race: a trip to Wolf Ridge Learning Center for 5th graders at Green Central Park Community School.

 

Election 2018: Hennepin County Commissioner, District 2

(By request.)

The incumbent commissioner, Linda Higgins, is not running for re-election. District 2 includes North and Northeast Minneapolis but also Golden Valley, Medicine Lake, Plymouth, and St. Anthony. (You can find a map of all the districts here.)

On the ballot:

Blong Yang
Irene Fernando (DFL-endorsed)

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Election 2018: Hennepin County Sheriff

I wrote about this race in the primary, but I emphasized what an absolute asshole Rich Stanek is, so I wanted to briefly revisit this race and talk a little about what makes Dave Hutch so cool.

Rich Stanek (who’s an asshole) is a Trump supporter and an ICE lackey. Dave Hutch wants to make sure that anyone, regardless of where they were born, can come to law enforcement if they’re a victim of or witness to a crime, and if they’re suspected of a crime, he wants them treated like anyone else.

(Here’s a really excellent article that talks in more detail about the Sheriff’s role in immigration policy enforcement, and how Dave Hutch will be different from Rich Stanek.)

Hutch wants to require training on mental health crises and de-escalation. He wants transparency in government (Stanek is openly contemptuous of FOIA requests.) He would be the first openly gay Sheriff in Minnesota. He has decades of experience in law enforcement and is also the son of a police officer, so if you’re looking at all this thinking “yes, but can he do the actual job here,” the answer is definitely.

If you live in Hennepin County, please vote for Dave Hutch and talk to your friends about this race. Hennepin is an overwhelmingly DFL county, but a lot of people don’t know a ton about the Sheriff’s office or Rich Stanek. Make sure they know why they should vote for Dave Hutch!

EDITED 10/20 TO ADD: a Facebook Live video of a Stanek fundraiser (which he’s at). He poses with “MAGA-Woman,” there are two people cosplaying Trump, it’s really … something.

Election 2018: State Representative District 63A

I literally have nothing to add to the post I wrote in 2016. The candidates are the same, Jim Davnie is still awesome, I once again (seriously, it’s been three times now) temporarily got the wrong Kyle Bragg and was confused, and the correct Kyle Bragg still doesn’t have a website.

I guess Kyle Bragg filing reduces the odds that they’ll wind up with someone profoundly embarrassing on the ballot representing the GOP. So probably worth it, from his perspective.

Vote for Jim!

Election 2018: Hennepin County Attorney

The Hennepin County Attorney does a bunch of stuff but here’s the aspect of the job that tends to get the most attention these days: this is the person who decides whether to file charges against the cops when they shoot someone.

Currently, the job is held by Mike Freeman, who did file charges against Mohamed Noor for shooting Justine Damond, but did not file charges against the officers who shot Jamar Clark or Thurman Blevins. His opponent is Mark Haase. More below the cut.

On the ballot:

Mike Freeman (Incumbent)
Mark Haase (DFL-endorsed)

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Election 2018: Associate Justice Supreme Court 2

I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed the last few days, between the coming elections and the news cycle, and this morning thought, “why don’t I do an easy one?”

This is a super easy race because I did some in-depth research on the challenger, Michelle MacDonald, in 2014. Then updated it in 2016.  So really all you need to know is, never vote for Michelle MacDonald for anything, not even dogcatcher, not even if you’re a Republican. I did find some updates to the ongoing trainwreck that is her career, which I’ve put under the cut.

On the ballot:

Michelle MacDonald
Margaret Chutich (Incumbent)

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Election 2018: Ramsey County Judge, Court 11

“Court 11” seems to refer to the seat that’s open, but I can’t figure out which judge is in it right now. That person is apparently not running for re-election as the seat seems to be wide open. There are four people running, two of whom will progress to the November ballot.

I just want to note for the record that I think this is a bad way to choose a judge. Even more than any other elective seat, I’m not in a good position to decide whether someone’s going to be good at the job. The Committee on Judicial Selection, which you apply to and which recommends appointments to the governor, and which was handling two seats this year, seems genuinely more qualified to me. (I have no idea why this seat wasn’t filled that way!)

(I’d also prefer retention elections to the system we’ve got now. In a retention election, you vote “should we keep this person, Y/N” when their term expires, and if people vote N, a new person gets appointed.)

The vast majority of what judges do isn’t partisan. “Did this person steal a car?” is not a particularly political question. But of course, politics leak in in all sorts of ways. I don’t want a judge who’s going to discriminate against a gay parent in a child custody case. I don’t want a judge who doesn’t take violence against women seriously. I don’t want a judge who assumes that police officers are always telling the truth. Etc.

Anyway — somewhat frustratingly, I’m going to note — all four of the candidates for this open seat appear to be basically fine and decent people who’d probably be good judges. Here they are:

Scott Michael Flaherty
Adam Yang
Jeffry Martin
Gregory J. Egan IV

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Gifts For People You Hate, 2017

Every year I sit down to write this and think, “what am I even going to come up with this year? I have used up all possible Bad Gift Ideas and am doubtless in reruns at this point” and then I start poking around looking at what’s available for purchase on Amazon:

unicorn

This is a wine-bottle holder and it’s supposed to look like the unicorn is drinking your wine. I guess. 

And I realize that I have barely scratched the surface of astonishingly terrible objects that one could give to those people to whom one is required by circumstance and etiquette to give gifts.

Maybe your office has a Secret Santa exchange, and you don’t officially have to participate except at your last performance review you got dinged for “not being enough of a team player, so you kinda do have to participate, and then you get assigned to buy a gift for that person who puts all their calls on speakerphone and leaves dishes in the office sink. Or maybe you’ve tried to talk your family into just exchanging festive greetings and this resulted in DRAMA so you’ve resigned yourself to buying gifts forever for that family member you try not to get stuck next to during the meal.

Sometimes you’re shopping for a gift because it’s worth that $15 to keep the peace and even though you know that, you resent every moment trying to figure out what would please this person. And that’s where my shopping guide comes in! Free yourself from the burden of trying to make an asshole happy, and embrace the idea of giving them something that won’t.

There are certain basic principles that apply every year. It should be cheap, but untraceably cheap. (Buying them a hand-crocheted who-knows-what for $2 at a thrift shop and pretending it came from a craft show is a terrific idea but you will need to make sure it looks new and doesn’t have that distinctive, identifiable Smell Of Savers wafting from it.) It should be easy to get, and it should look like a gift you might honestly have picked out because you thought they’d like it.

(And a final disclaimer: I don’t actually buy gifts for anyone I don’t like, so if I have given you a bad gift in the past, I promise this was not an intentional slight!)

ON TO THE SHOPPING.

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